The old speak of things strange-
of nails in trees and curdling milk,
spells and hairballs and silver. Words
from times and protections long past
modern understanding or belief:
stopping blood with bible verse
and pulling the heat out of a burn
in ways no schooled doctor would condone.
Old ways from old times
when what you had on hand had to do.
You had to fix things yourself even
if those things were evil and witchery.
We laugh nervously and say how quaint
as the old voices whisper
and the shadows drift behind us.
Today folklorist Gerry Milnes presented a program on traditional Appalachian storytellers and traditional beliefs of older German descendants in rural eastern West Virginia. Fascinating and chilling, the folks in his video clips were like voices echoing a long gone time and in a way breathing some new life into the things of which they spoke. If you are interested, check out his book and DVD called Signs, Cures and Witchery.